Biden Orders Release of Kenyan Prisoner

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) meets with U.S President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, October 14, 2021.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) meets with U.S President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, October 14, 2021.
    The Standard
  • A Kenyan detained in the US is among inmates set to be released and others transferred from prison in the latest orders by President Joe Biden.

    In an order issued Tuesday, January 11, the US government review panel approved the release of the five who were held at the famous Guantánamo Bay prison.

    They were held for years without charge at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to a flurry of decisions released by the Pentagon.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) meets with U.S President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, October 14, 2021.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) meets with U.S President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, October 14, 2021.
    AFP Twitter

    In the release order, the Kenyan was among the three Yemenis transferred from the military detention. They were charged with war crimes and instead were held as “law of war” detainees, the US term for prisoners of the war on terrorism.

    The disclosure came on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the wartime prison. Former President Barrack Obama's last special envoy on the task, Lee Wolosky, used the occasion to urge the White House to shut down the operation.

    “Our longest war has ended, yet Guantánamo endures," Wolosky stated at the time.

    However, those released will have to wait for a longer period of time as Biden's administration tries to figure out other nations that will take the released detainees.

    Their prospective relocation marked the latest step toward reducing the detainee population at Guantánamo and closing the facility that has posed political, legal, and ethical challenges for successive US presidents, with Biden feeling the latest heat.

    Biden had pledged to shut down the prison just like Obama but his administration has not yet fulfilled the pledge. In order to make it a reality, his administration must negotiate transfer deals with detainees' home governments or third countries. In this case, Kenya must come to an agreement with the US over taking the detainee.

    Pentagon spokesman, John F. Kirby, told reporters this week that those remaining in Guantánamo are the hardest cases to deal with and to adjudicate.

    A number of Kenyan nationals have been held in different detention centers in the US with their charges varying from crime and even others being linked to terrorism.

    The US has been holding them with the intent of getting to the bottom of the charges filed against them.

    A prisoner being moved from Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba
    A prisoner being moved from Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba
    File
    terrorism